Mayor Livingstone: $50 to Drive an SUV into Central London

ken_livingstone.jpgLondon Mayor Ken Livingstone said yesterday that he wants to introduce an emissions-based congestion charging fee in an attempt to reduce his city’s carbon dioxide output and to encourage cleaner transportation. The mayor’s proposal is to charge the heaviest polluting vehicles emitting 225 grams of CO2 per kilometer, a £25 fee to drive into London’s Central Business District. At today’s exchange rate that is the equivalent of $47.50 in US dollars. Livingstone said:

Most vehicles that will be charged £25 are high priced models. Those who buy them can afford to choose from pretty much the whole of the mainstream car market but have chosen to buy one of the most polluting vehicles. By making these changes to the congestion charging scheme we are encouraging people to take into account the impact of their choice of new car on the environment and the planet.

Also under the Mayor’s proposal, owners of the least polluting vehicles, like the microscopic G-Wiz electric car, would not be charged any fee for driving into the Congestion Zone. And in further blow to the owners of "Chelsea Tractors," known as SUV’s here in New York City, the 90 per cent resident’s discount for car owners living inside the congestion charging zone would be eliminated for owners of big polluting vehicles. Livingstone’s announcement comes three weeks after Richmond Council, south west London, became the first local authority in the country to announce plans for emissions-based residents’ parking charges.

An how about this quote from Geoff Pope, the Liberal Democrat chairman of the London Assembly Transport Committee. What would you give to hear a New York City elected official say something like this?

Urgent action is needed to tackle the growing number of Chelsea tractors (SUV’s) coming into central London. They are damaging and unnecessary vehicles in a densely urbanised, twenty-first century city.

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